Family Vacation for $40 per Person a Day!

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, so planning them should be, too! It can seem when planning out every detail the dollar signs keep getting more intimidating. We’re here to help with this guide on how and where to spend only $40 per day per person. Yep, you read that right! Let’s get into it. 

Our best advice is to go grocery shopping right after you check into your hotel or cabin. This way you won’t feel the need to eat out 3 times a day, every day (and don’t forget snacks in between meals). Grocery shopping is the best way to ensure you’re maximizing every dollar when it comes to food! Try to keep your budget at $80 or less. 

After your home-made breakfast and a relaxing morning with a Smokies view, pick one of these awesome, affordable attractions to spend the afternoon. 

  • Crave Golf Club has fun for all ages. The candy themed attraction offers: an indoor and outdoor mini-golf course, two unique escape rooms, mini-bowling, and a candy store with all your favorite goodies. Find a coupon to discount 2 adults and 2 kids to $49.96 (including mini-golf only). They have deals to combine multiple activities, as well, so don’t forget to check those out! 
  • TopJump Trampoline & Extreme Arena has all the latest climbing, trampoline, virtual reality, arcade, and ninja course equipment that will make the whole family happy! At just $14.99 per person, you can get 1 hour of jump, climb, and ninja course time. Additional activities are up to you! They offer packages to save you more money if you’d like to do more than one activity. 
  • Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show and Adventure Park has all the excitement of being a real lumberjack in one place! The show features professional lumberjacks and lumberjills showcasing their amazing skills in a competition between two feuding families. The show is so interactive you’ll feel like you’re in the fight, too! The Adventure Park offers a multi-level ropes course, speed climbing, logger sports, and the famous Flying Ox; a zipline roller coaster. Packages are available if you’d like to do both the show and adventure park. 
  • The Island in Pigeon Forge is packed with activities, restaurants, shops, and of course the famous Wheel. Catch a ride on the Wheel at sunset for a breathtaking view you’ll never forget. The wheel costs $12 per adult and $7 per child when tickets are purchased online. Before you ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, grab a large pizza at Mellow Mushroom for your family to split! This will cost you $17-$24 depending on your toppings. After dinner, satisfy your sweet tooth over at Sweet!  candy store. They have all your favorite treats from chocolate to gummies and everything in between! 
  • Dollywood is a must-do during a Smokies visit! We recommend eating breakfast and dinner at your hotel or cabin on this day. Dollywood has some of the best food at their many restaurants on property so you’ll want to grab lunch there! You can expect to spend $9-$12 per adult and $6-$9 per child for lunch. As for tickets: an adult ticket is $79 and a child’s is $69.
  • Ripley’s Aquarium is as interactive as it is educational. Kids love seeing the thousands of species and learn all about them while having a blast! For roughly $25 per person, your whole family will make lasting memories with the sea creatures in the mountains! 
  • After the aquarium, you’re right down the road from the tram that leads to Ober. Make sure to stop by Sweet! in Gatlinburg on your way for some yummy candy! The ride to the top overlooks all of Gatlinburg and has unbeatable views of the Great Smoky Mountains! This activity will run you about $23 per person. Make the most of your Ober trip by packing a lunch to eat at the top of the mountain for some peaceful family time. 

In the midst of all these activities that can really wear you out, make time for some simple pleasures! Everyone deserves a few moments of relaxation during vacation; even in the midst of all the action. Here are some ways to chill out for as little cash as possible: 

  • Go on a picnic in Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge. This park has a walking trail around it and access to the Little Pigeon River if you want to wade and cool down. 
  • Take a walk around the Old Mill next to Patriot Park. There are a handful of odd-shops and eateries all in a cozy square just off the Parkway in Pigeon Forge.
  • Catch a movie at the Forge Cinemas at Lumberjack Square. Movies are always $5 per ticket. 
  • Have an uninterrupted cup of coffee on your balcony, or just outside. A Smoky Mountain sunrise is worth a thousand words. 
  • If you are staying somewhere with a pool or game room, take advantage of those amenities! Sometimes it’s nice to spend a day without a full itinerary; just relax for a while! 
  • Last but not least; get out and explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! There are over 100 trails of varying difficulty, so you’ll be sure to find a perfect hike for you. 

We’ve done a bit of math for you: if a family of four were visiting, did all of these activities over the course of 7 days, and went grocery shopping for around $80, this trip would average $162 per day, or $40.50 per person per day! 

We hope this guide helped you gain more information about potential attractions to visit and made you feel at ease about staying in your budget. See you soon!